SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) will continue to pay P11.67 billion to the government in tax, concession and contractual payments to support the national fund in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement Sunday, the listed conglomerate said it was committing to give the money to the government despite an amnesty offer “to make available funds needed to respond effectively to the challenges of the pandemic.”

“[W]e remain steadfast in our commitment to assist government and continue providing assistance where it’s most needed,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said in the statement.

SMC said it had paid P8.77 billion to the government, and the remaining P2.9 billion will be given before the enhanced community quarantine is lifted.

The government said last week spending in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic had reached P352.7 billion, or 88.8% of the P397 billion in capital outlays it planned to tap from the 2020 budget. President Rodrigo R. Duterte had said the government might sell state-owned properties should the need arise to support spending.

Aside from government payments, SMC will also keep giving full-time pay to its employees and extended workforce while the enhanced community quarantine is in place. More than P3 billion in full compensation with benefits have already been disbursed to 66,557 SMC employees, consultants and contract workers, it said.

“These are trying times and while we, as a company, are not immune to the challenges of this crisis, the safety and security of our workforce will always come first. We do not want them worrying about their jobs,” Mr. Ang was quoted as saying.

The San Miguel group said last week it had so far donated P1.15 billion to communities and frontliners in the form of cash, food, alcohol, fuel, free toll and personal protective equipment.

SMC booked P48.57 billion in earnings in 2019, flat from a year ago, amid lower sales from its oil and food business segments. Its shares at the stock exchange slipped 75 centavos or 0.77% to P97 apiece on Friday. — Denise A. Valdez